Build a story

Carol Raby

Lucy's Birthday Jack and the Beanstalk Age group: 2-5 Duplo Playbooks: tab index and fold-out books with Duplo bricks and characters. 0 434 96867 6, Pounds 6.99 and 96870 6, Pounds 7.99.

Reed Children's Books.

A unique range of interactive playbooks has recently come on to the market, in which Reed Children's Books and the Lego Group with its pre-school Duplo range combine fun and educational value, by linking basic early technology with reading.

Ofsted inspections now require evidence of a greater use of technology across the curriculum. With this range of materials it can start as early as six months with a series of chunky books, suitable for children as young as six months to two years, each packaged in a box with a brick character.

The Tab Index books, of which there are two so far Lucy's Birthday and Play with Dan are sturdy board books with a colourful tab index border. Each book covers colours, shapes and numbers with technology. There are four individual bricks and a character to slot into the pages. Our children at Wickbourne Nursery were able to build a castle part-way through the Lucy's Birthday book, build steps to her tree house and a climbing frame.

The fold-out 12-page books consist of two titles, Jack and the Beanstalk and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. These traditional stories come with one character and three bricks for the reader to build and position in the book as the story demands. The children enjoyed the exciting hands-on approach with the familiar story of Jack and the Beanstalk and there were plenty of opportunities for using their own imagination, making up their own story line and general language development.

However, some of them were occasionally frustrated by the pages not lying flat when they were trying to build on them and they needed a larger supply of bricks, though this is no problem for a nursery well stocked with Duplo. Overall, the equipment is robust, sturdy and colourful, and the idea of combining toys with books is an appealing novelty.

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